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Building owner

 

„M. Le Corbusier prend un avion d'Air France pour les Indes le vendredi 15 avril, vol 682, faisant escale Zurich de 14 h 05 21 h 10. Il serait très heureux s'il vous était possible de venir le voir L'Aéroport.“ La Secrétaire J. Heilbuth. „M. Le Corbusier is taking an Air France plane, flight 682, to India on Friday, 15 April, with a stopover in Zurich from 14.05 to 21.10. He would be very pleased to meet you at the airport.“ J. Heilbuth, Secretary.

The 15th of April 1960 was an exceptionally beautiful day in Zurich. I was looking forward to his visit, even though it was only for a few hours. I met Le Corbusier at the airfield. In those days, one could still go directly to the plane. When Le Corbusier got out of the aircraft, we greeted each other with the trusting handshake captured in the photograph. Le Corbusier had an unusually radiant smile as we shook hands. I drove towards Zürichhorn Park at Lake Zurich, aware that we would spend only a few hours together. I had an epiphany. I cannot explain how it happened. It was a sudden insight that I intuitively had to reveal to Le Corbusier during our walk by the lake. After short time, he looked at me sceptically and asked: „Pourquoi vous me faites promener ici?“ „Why are you walking here with me?“ „Monsieur, j'aimerais vous faire construire une maison-musée de vous dans ce parc.“ „Monsieur, I would like to build a museum of yours in this park.“ Le Corbusier was stunned: „Vous n'allez pas me dire que vous pouvez construire dans ce beau parc?“ „You're not telling me that you're allowed to build in this beautiful park?“ And, after a short pause: „Non, je ne ferais plus rien pour les Suisses, les Suisses n'ont jamais été chic avec moi.“ „No, I'm not going to do anything more for the Swiss; the Swiss were never kind to me.“ At this exact moment, my answer was very, very important and right: „Monsieur, moi personnellement je n'investirais même pas 100 francs dans les Suisses, puis-ce que je voulais émigrer depuis que j'avais 14 ans, mais je suis conscient d'une chose, c'est que avec vous que je peux faire quelque chose de non Suisse en Suisse, quelque chose qui grossera les frontiéres.“ „Monsieur, personally I would not invest 100 francs in the Swiss. Even as a 14-year-old girl I wanted to leave Switzerland, but I am aware that it is only with you that I can do something un-Swiss in Switzerland; something that will transcend Swiss borders.“ My combative answer and my argument convinced him, and he replied in a voice filled with joy and enthusiasm: „Oui, vous avez raison, on le montrera ces Suisses!“ „Yes, you are right, we will show these Swiss!“


 

Le Corbusier was annoyed that after I had organized several exhibitions of his pictures in my „mezzanine“ studio gallery I had never spoken to him about an exhibition of his sculptures. For my part, it was only possible to exhibit and sell works when I was completely convinced by them. I needed a certain amount of time with the sculptures as I could not find any way of „access“ them in the first two years. One day, he said to me: „Madame Weber, Joseph Savina le sculpteur qui réalise avec moi des sculptures a des difficultés financières parce qu' il ne peut pas les vendre.“ „Madame Weber, Joseph Savina, the sculptor I work with is in financial difficulty because he is unable to sell any of them.“ He wanted me to focus intensively on selling them. From one day to the next, the beauty and the complexity of his sculpture opened up to me and this was an extremely exhilarating experience. I immediately organized an exhibition exclusively of his sculptures, which was very gratifying for me, and it also meant I could help his friend Joseph Savina. So I dedicated myself completely to the sales. As an interior designer, I once furnished and converted two houses of two art-loving Zurich industrialists. I was able to interest the men in the sculptures and thanks to my conviction get each of them to buy a piece. I was happy to transfer a significant sum of money to Le Corbusier and he was able to pay Joseph Savina for the first time. I had to pay him in advance for all the sculpture that I needed for the major Sculptures Le Corbusier-Savina exhibition. Because there were only two collectors, I am now the happy owner of some of his most astonishing wood sculptures.


 

In the aftermath of many exhibitions of Le Corbusier's works in my „mezzanin“ studio gallery, visitors would often ask me: „What are all the things Le Corbusier has done?“ When I related this recurring question on the part of my gallery visitors, Le Corbusier thought for a brief moment, walked with his slow, heavy steps to his small desk and, very concentratedly, wrote with a goose quill: „Il n'y a pas de sculptures seul, de peintre seul, d'architect seul, l'évènement plastique s'accomplit dans une forme et une au service de la poésie.“ „There are not just sculptors; not just painters, not just architects. The metaphoric event takes place only in one form only that is in the service of poetry.“ I proudly cherish this expressive, handwritten original page.